(PM) Team retrospectives

Over the past year, I’ve experimented with retrospectives for the team of product managers that I lead. Here are some of my learnings as well as an account of a recent experiment: a retro for team wellbeing and mental health. This is entirely applicable to other disciplines and jobs. I called this post ‘(PM) team…More


How to stop forcing PMs to make up delivery dates

Leaders and stakeholders in other parts of the organisation want to know what’s being delivered, so they can plan around it, adjust their work, create communication plans… A common frustration is product managers being forced to provide predictions, and then these predictions not working out. We see constantly slipping delivery dates. In my last post,…More

Pretence of predictability: Am I being as evil as my washing machine?

It’s Saturday morning, I am waiting for the washing machine to finish its cycle so I can go out. However, a design flaw in the machine is causing me disproportionate frustration. As you would expect it has a small screen that indicates the time left. However, it never indicates the entire time left, only the…More

Weeknote: Finding new ways to learn

The last year has made us rethink how we do many things in our lives. Forced to adapt, we have found alternative ways to see friends and family, to do our work, to spend a lot of time at home… One thing that I reflected on this week was finding new ways to learn.  There…More

Weeknote: how to get away with murder (of a product)

You’ve just joined a new team, you’re being assigned to launch a product which is nearly ready, and from the moment you set eyes on it, something doesn’t feel right. You don’t quite get its value, you don’t see how others might want to use it, it doesn’t feel right… but then you don’t know…More

Weeknote: Performance review

Last week I had my performance review, and for the first time I actually enjoyed it and was grateful for the conversation we had. Until recently I would have described the performance review or annual review as the yearly awkward moment to talk with your manager about your achievements and skills. When I worked at…More

Weeknote: When you can’t solve the problem

I wrote this reflection a while ago, but as this week has been intense and my thoughts are all over the place, I thought I’d share this. … It’s a drab drizzly day in January. I’m queuing at the post office. Courtesy of covid-19, we’re of course queuing outside. There’s also a queue system inside:…More

Weeknote: product communities and networks

This week I have been thinking about product communities. In my last organisation, there was a fairly active product community, both at cross-government level and within the organisation. However, in my new job, there is no such community, as our product team of 7 is integrated in the ‘business’ and fairly isolated from other PMs.…More

Weeknote: How do we know how much others need to know?

As product people one of our roles is to ensure people external to our team know what is going on and where we’re heading. That is simple enough as a principle, yet in practice, this is hard. The situation This week, I’ve trialed an email to share updates across all our products to send to…More

Weeknote: the surprisingly good day

Ok, that’s it, I’ll try it out! For several years I’ve been seeing colleagues and people on Twitter write weeknotes, and I’ve finally reached a point at which I feel like I should do it and I have sufficient motivation and courage to do it. Something happened this week, which brought it home to me…More